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Northern Neck News


June 3, 2009

House recognizes Virginia tribes; bill goes to Senate

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA1) voted Wednesday in support of H.R. 1385, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2009. The bill, which passed the house by a voice vote, extends federal recognition to the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc., the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe, which have sought federal recognition through legislation for years.

“I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation and proud to continue my support for federal recognition of Virginia Indian tribes,” said Wittman during a floor speech in support of the bill.

“The cultural and historical importance of these tribes to the Commonwealth is significant. Today’s legislation is an important step in preserving a heritage that is entwined with the birth of Virginia and America,” said Wittman.

The First Congressional District includes the tribal seats of the Upper Mattaponi in King William County and the Rappahannock Tribe in King and Queen County. In 1983 the Commonwealth of Virginia granted state recognition to the six tribes. The House voted unanimously in support of federal recognition for the tribes in 2007, but the bill stalled in the Senate.